Upon entering The Tuning Fork in downtown Auckland it was like entering some sort of wacky peaceful music protest... Half the crowd were seated on the floor waiting for Hollie Smith to grace the stage. Everyone stood and assumed the position when she reached the mike and began belting out 2 epic songs from her latest album 'Water Or Gold' which was released on the 1st of April this year. The first single off the new album - 'Lady Dee' was especially special. Climactic melodic crescendos for Hollie's voice were executed flawlessly and effortlessly. The song ebbed and flowed through multiple dramatic tempo and volume changes and it really felt like we were joining the band on an emotional storytelling adventure.
Her third song 'Lead the Way' had a much more rock n roll vibe and was reminiscent rhythmically and tonally of Pink Floyd's 'Money'. This new direction for Hollie also reminded me of Wellington rockers The Nudge. Ballsy swinging syncopation was prominent and the band shined at this opportunity to be featured more rather than just supporting Hollie's amazing voice. It was awesome to hear a great synth solo from Daniel Hayles and I think the concert overall would have benefited from more musical solos, even another addition to the rhythm section who could have stepped up and diversified the set and picked up the pieces as Hollie still finds her feet playing the guitar.
In saying that however, it was great to see Hollie behind a guitar instead of a piano as it made for a better stage show. The band were nice and tight musically and there was a really relaxed and friendly atmosphere coming from the stage. Their cohesion from touring was apparent and the drummer Darren Mathiassen (previously of Shapeshifter fame) deserves a special mention for being an absolute powerhouse and a joy to watch.
Hollie's history with excessive alcohol use was brought up with her declaring that she's much funnier and less awkward when drunk but isn't allowed to be drunk tonight. The audience seemed to remain in openhearted adoration of her and tolerated the uncomfortable speeches between songs well. I tried to find the rants endearing but her neurosis really took me away from the musical experience and I found myself wishing for the next song.
This resistance dropped away entirely however in intro she gave for her last song 'Helena'. Hollie was authentic and spoke with clarity and conviction about this special song. It was originally written with Helena's fiancé for their marriage in 2014. Helena passed away from cancer September last year but got to hear the studio version of the song the morning before she passed. The song was utterly heartfelt and simple with all music supporting Hollie's voice and lyric. She wiped away tears at the end of the song and the depth of feeling was touching to be part of.
For an encore they played 'Bathe In The River' her first hit from 2006. It's a beautiful bluesy ballad and displays Hollie's incredible voice so well. The music on her latest album journeys in new directions and it's so important for musicians to experiment and evolve but I can't help but think that it's with songs like 'Bathe in the river' that Hollie is at her best.
In the mid to late 90's, when grunge began to wither away and MTV strived to find the next easy to access label to attach to new batch of up and coming rock bands, global attention started to shine on the Alt Rock scene.
The I Love The 90s Tour returns to Auckland next year March 23rd at Auckland’s Spark Arena, with a completely off the chain lineup featuring classic Hip Hop crew Naughty by Nature. Vin Rock from the Grammy Award winning rap group speaks fondly of this country and love of our people.
The Soundsplash Festival is returning to Raglan in January 2018. Local reggae favourites Katchafire are returning to feature on the bill. We sent a few questions over to lead vocalist Logan Bell ahead of the festival.
Following 2015’s Kitty, Daisy & Lewis'The Third', the sibling trio are back stronger than ever, harnessing their ability to create pop-infused soul, blues, rock n roll and a large mix of genres to perfection, in the shape of their fourth studio album, Superscope.
Kylie Price has just released her new album Bones. Last week she appeared on theNZ Entertainment Podcast, where she sang a new song I Dont Want To Go off the album while talking shop about her dream gig to play with Ed Sheeran and her Philipino roots.
Last week I caught up withPeter Hook ahead of returning down under for Australasian leg of the Joy Division and New Order Substance tour. We had a great chat about the spirit of punk, what it takes to write a book and why shows like the X-factor are so unhealthy…
Long established as one of New Zealand’s finest acts, South Pacific reggae-soul legends, The Black Seeds are set to tour the country in September, following the release of their long awaited 6th studio album Fabric, (out today - Friday September 8th).
Jacqueline Nalpant is a Booking Agent for the Paradigm Talent Agency, and is heading to New Zealand early next month where she'll be one of the speakers for the Going Global Music Summit (Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd September at Roundhead Studios, Auckland).
Since making her musical debut with her song Drift early last year, fast attracting a solid fan base and over 1 million plays across Spotify and Soundcloud in just a few months, Madeline North, better known by her musical moniker So Below, has once again blessed us with a moodier, masterful electro-pop banger, titled Ruin.
Since forming in 1998, the Antwerp, Belgium based trio Triggerfinger have long become a mainstay on the rock scene, building a solid reputation across Europe, the US, Canada and beyond, as one of the hardest-driving and sharpest dressing bands around.
Popular metalcore group Northlane are on their way to New Zealand. The Sydney band are touring North America taking in countries like Chile and Mexico as they head our way down-under next month to play Wellington’s San Fran then Auckland at the iconic Kings Arms.
Returning to New Zealand for the first time in three years, Australian metalcore band In Hearts Wake are on their way to our shores next month for a quick run of shows supporting their label cohorts Northlane.
Courtney Marie Andrews has landed in New Zealand, and set to play two concerts this week with Joe Pug - tonight at San Fran in Wellington (Wed July 19) and tomorrow night at The Tuning Fork in Auckland (Thu July 20).
Auckland two-piece Skinny Hobos, Alex Elvis and Texas Holdom, are heading on a 5 date New Zealand tour with headliners Decades, Bakers Eddy and Dead Favours. Kicking off tonight in Hamilton (July 14), the tour will also take them to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and finishes up in Dunedin.
Have you ever considered sharing your most personal experiences with the entire world? Well come this Friday 14th July, that’s what Emma Cameron, the rocking front-woman of kiwi band Decades is about to do, when they release their long-awaited full length debut album, The Truth And Other People, so we sat down with the cheerful front woman to discover just what truth this album reveals..
Whilst Sonny Landreth is a well known slide-guitar master, zydeco enthusiast and phenomenal blues legend, what you may not know about him, is that he is one of the nicest gentlemen in the entire universe.
He was always the boy next door type energy, that type of person you just always wanted to be around. From day one, Shay Taylor has always been one to break the mold and live life in such a vibrant and contagious manner, that no matter who he spoke to, they walked away feeling great!
Anthonie Tonnon is taking his new Extended Player and single to Australia, and to New Zealand towns that missed the first run of dates, or sold out too quickly. He’ll also be appearing at three summer festivals this February.
After a stand of three Auckland concerts that sold out in minutes in January, Connan Mockasin is hitting the road across Aotearoa for the first time in eight years this summer for a select run of headline shows.